Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Peter Falk Parking Stories

I thought Peter Falk was one of the great performers of the 60's, 70's and 80's. He was funny as hell in Mad Mad Mad Mad World and The Great Race, absolutely perfect as Columbo (one of my all time favorite television series, ever) and fascinating in his John Cassavetes performances.

I had an office on the Universal lot for several years, overlooking the parking lot where Mr. Falk, well, parked. So I saw him and his Range Rover on many occasions, and he was a familiar presence at the studio. One day I was having lunch in the studio dining room with an executive, who asked me what I liked best about being at Universal. I told her that truthfully, I loved that I had actually seen Peter Falk in person. She blanched and made a "over your shoulder" gesture. I turned and Peter Falk was sitting about three feet away. He had clearly overheard the conversation and he smiled. That was it, no chat, just the smile. But that was enough!

Second anecdote: I was in my office staring into space (a frequent habit!) when I noticed a messenger parking in Peter Falk's space. Moments after the messenger left to make his delivery, Peter Falk arrived in his big ol' Range Rover. Seeing someone in his spot, Falk simply parked behind him, blocking him in. The messenger ran out and was flummoxed to see the car behind his. He was trapped! Someone in the same office had noticed what happened and I asked if Falk would eventually move. "After two or three hours", said my office pal. "He really doesn't like people parking in his spot." Sure enough, after a couple frantic hours, someone finally came from Falk's office and moved the Rover.

Third anecdote: I was giving my friend John (check out his Beatles blog, listed to the right!) a tour of Universal and as we were pulling into my parking spot, I saw Peter Falk pulling out of his. I told John, "hey, look, there's Peter Falk!" We watched Falk pull out, out, out, until BAM! He hit the car parked behind him and broke out the tail-light! While glass was still tinkling to the pavement, Falk gunned it and tore out of the parking lot. I parked as a woman ran outside and asked if I'd seen the guy who just smashed into her car. "It was Peter Falk", I said. She withered, realizing there probably wasn't anything she could do about it.

Fantastic performer, but probably someone to avoid on the highway. RIP, sir!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the last episode of Falling Skies there was a scene with the bulletin board and at the top of it was a sign in Hebrew that was supposed to read welcome. Although spelled correctly, it was BACKWARDS! It's the little details that make a show, no matter how insignificant.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Paul Chadwick said...

That's a funny story.

Peter, peter...

11:43 AM  

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